Zim to host first ever Startup Weekend

Zimbabwean young entrepreneurs are set to benefit from the first ever technological entrepreneurship initiative entitled Startup Weekend.

Organised by Hypercube in conjunction with Mercy Corps under the theme ‘No Limits’, Startup Weekend seeks to create new opportunities for youths to be mentored and develop new technologies that can benefit the country.

Set to be held from May 16 to 18 at Hypercube tech hub in Belgravia, Startup Weekend is open to young people with new, innovative technological ideas designed change the growing sense of socio-economic isolation Zimbabwe has experienced in the past decade.

Said Tawanda Mudzonga, Startup Weekend Press Liason Officer: “Participants at this event are guaranteed of mentorship from successful entrepreneurs some of whom are going to be drawn from Zimbabwe, other regional countries and internationally.”

“We are hoping to assist youths across the board. We want young people from all over Zimbabwe to develop and grow their ideas into reality so that they become part of this global phenomenon.”

Mudzonga said the technological entrepreneurship initiative seeks to connect Zimbabwean youths with like- minded developers and technological entrepreneurs in other parts of Africa and beyond.

“This initiative should help aspiring entrepreneurs to create new opportunities for themselves in a challenging environment,” she said.

Hosted in over 110 different countries internationally, Startup Weekend has reached over 100,000 entrepreneurs and created 13,000 Startup teams, that help each other leverage their ideas and develop their new technologies for the benefit of their countries.

“Specifically, the project aims to invite the participation of young people and women as a way of tackling the high levels of youth unemployment,” said Mudzonga.

She said in preparation for the Startup Weekend, his organisation will host a preparatory Boot Camp on May 10 at the same venue: Hypercube, Belgravia.

“Those wishing to take part at the Boot Camp are required to pay $5.”

She said the Boot Camp is an opportunity for registered participants to refine their pitches, identify open source and other technologies, and connect with would-be customers to validate their ideas before the main event.

“The Boot Camp will feature experts in business and intellectual property law to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of collaborating on ideas in an “open IP” environment such as Startup Weekend. It will create an opportunity for them to get general advice on taking on risk and accepting set-backs in entrepreneurial endeavors,” she said.

Tickets for students are available for $50 and participants that buy their tickets earlier can get them at a discounted price of $80 instead of the normal $99.

This fee is inclusive of several benefits some of which include the chance to participate and pitch technological ideas to influential individuals, meet and mingle with established businessmen, get advice from fellow technological entrepreneurs, and get food and drink for the three-day weekend.

Mudzonga revealed that participants will also have an opportunity to enter their ideas for a competition where winners are set to walk away with a variety of prices some of which include vouchers to help them grow their businesses online courtesy of Google and Amazon Web Services, three-month accelerator programmes with Hypercube, smart phones, tablets and financial and business development opportunities among a host of other prices.

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